Cafeteria Undergoes Massive Remodeling

Jonathan Caballeros, El Vaquero Staff Writer

Renovations to the cafeteria have made purchasing faster and have given a new classroom to culinary arts majors, but that’s only the beginning on a major reconstruction of the entire campus.

Los Robles, former home to the culinary arts department, faces an uncertain fate of whether it is going to be relocated or demolished.

“At the moment, we don’t really know where the future of Los Robles stands, due to the culinary arts majors moving to the cafeteria,” said Ron Nakasone, Vice President of Administrative Services. “It could lead to moving the building to another location on campus, or perhaps demolition.”

For culinary arts majors, the reconstruction of and movement to the cafeteria means new challenges.

The new cafeteria offers a streamlined form of purchasing food, which speeds up the line, and makes it easier for students to choose their meal.

“We want the new cafeteria to be self sustaining,” said Nakasone. “Now that the lines will go faster, we should see more sales to keep the culinary arts students busy.”

One former Vaquero sees the new classroom as great opportunity for real experience.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for culinary students to enhance their skills. The culinary arts department has a small kitchen, but working in the cafeteria provides a bigger space to work,” said Nelson Luong, 24, a former GCC culinary arts student. “ If I had worked in the cafeteria, I would have loved to provide great meals to students.”

Due to its reopening last Monday, other locations were more full than usual. The Milky Way Cafe, closed since Spring 2011, reopened to accommodate students wanting to grab a quick bite.

“I was surprised when I found out the second floor cafeteria was closed due to its reconstruction,” said Britteney Guinhawa, 19, a nursing major. “I’m curious to see what changed in the upstairs cafeteria. If it gives a comfortable setting to study or eat at, then I’ll go there often.”

On top of the possible demolition of Los Robles, the construction of a new building that will help new and current students with financial aid, admissions and records, counseling and job placement, and is near its groundbreaking day.

“The College Services Building will have all the amenities that students need such as admissions and records, student financial aid, and anything else a new or returning student would need,” said Nakasone. “This would eliminate the need to go from building to building, like we do today.”

“I think it’s a step in the right direction to have all offices in the same building,” said Lorilyn Luong, 20. “Now if they could only offer more classes to students.”

The new structure will stand three stories and will be 56,000 square feet in total, offering admissions and records, financial aid, EOPS, the transfer center, the job placement center and more.

The new building will let students have a one-stop destination to prepare for the new semester ahead, but leaves a question to GCC: how will the abandoned spaces be reallocated?

“At the moment, GCC is thinking on what to do with the newly opened space, at an affordable cost,” said Nakasone. “San Rafael’s second floor could become an open lab.”

Other buildings apart from Los Robles, such as the San Fernando courts, also are in the chopping block for demolition.

“There’s not much useable land left,” said Nakasone.

Only now, time will tell.

The campus is going through a major transformation. Starting with the cafeteria, and finishing with perhaps a totally new landscape, this new plan for an easier travelled campus will come by 2015.